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Premiers call for meeting with prime minister on carbon tax

By Steve MacArthur Nov 6, 2023 | 4:10 PM

Canada’s premiers want to meet with the prime minister to apply more pressure on the feds to lift portions of the carbon tax as winter closes in.

Nova Scotia’s Tim Houston says it is not lost on the premiers that the prime minister has not met with the group of leaders in person since 2018.

The premiers have been meeting in Halifax and while health care and housing were meant to be the major priorities, the carbon tax and affordability moved to the forefront during discussions.

The tax on fossil fuels, such as home heat oil, has been a sore spot for many people as budgets are already stretched thin due to the high cost of living and the temperature drops.

The federal government recently hit the pause button on the tax on heating oil in Atlantic Canada and it’s prompted other premiers to take offence to that decision.

Since making the announcement, Justin Trudeau has faced increased pressure from other provinces and accusations of favouritism because they traditionally have strong support in Atlantic Canada.

Saskatchewan Premeir Scott Moe, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have asked that the carve-out be extended to natural gas in their provinces.

“Premiers expressed concern that federal actions around the federal carbon tax have treated Canadians differently and expect the federal government to support all Canadians fairly,” – Council of the Federation joint statement

In Halifax, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew added his name to the list.

“There is no silver bullet when it comes to climate change, the carbon tax is just one of many mechanisms,” said Kinew. “It is getting colder as winter approaches…it is no surprise there is snow on the ground in Manitoba and residents of could use a break during this period of high inflation.”

The feds have already rejected calls for more carbon concessions, saying its carveout aimed at improving the affordability of home heating oil won’t be extended to other forms of heating fuel.

Health Summit held in Nova Scotia

The premiers spent time talking about health care, housing and infrastructure during their two days of meetings in Nova Scotia.

On Monday, they held a Health Summit to gain insight into how provinces and territories are improving the system through innovative and forward-thinking initiatives.

“The health care needs of Canadians are not the same across the country, and addressing current and future challenges cannot be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution.” – Council of the Federation

Housing and infrastructure concerns were raised during the meetings. However, as the days passed the carbon tax issue became increasingly more prominent.